The Caroline Dormon Trail in Kisatchie National Forest is one of the best ways to access remote wilderness in Louisiana. A point-to-point trail, Caroline Dorman stretches 10.5 miles through beautiful and somewhat rare longleaf pine forest. The trail is named after a botanist and naturalist who was born in 1888. Caroline Dorman was the first to propose the creation of the Louisiana State Arboretum, which was the first state-supported arboretum of its kind. She also helped spearhead the creation and protection of Kisatchie National Forest.
The trail begins almost directly off of the Longleaf Scenic Byway. There is ample parking, including large spaces for trucks with horse trailers. The trail is very well-marked with orange blazes that are clearly displayed on the longleaf pines. The trail has some inclines and declines along the way, but overall it is relatively flat and can be finished rather quickly. Something about hiking through this forest is especially peaceful and quiet, allowing for a good opportunity to do some reflecting.
One of the best ways to see the trail in its entirety is via backpacking. There are several primitive campsites along the trail, or you could push through the entire trail and camp at the opposite end in Kisatchie Bayou Campground. The trail ends at this campground, which is located right next to the Kisatchie Bayou. The sound of rushing water from the bayou is lovely and will help you fall asleep at night. To increase your camping/hiking options in Kisatchie National Forest, you can connect to the Backbone Trail and/or Sandstone Trail to make your backpacking adventure a multi-day experience.
Another attraction in the area is the Longleaf Scenic Byway, which has several points of interest along 17 miles of road. Be sure to stop and check out the view from Longleaf Vista along the byway.